Our Books of 2018

As another year draws to a close, we decided it would be a lovely idea to reflect on what we’ve loved reading this year. Spanning a range of genres and dating all the way back to the eighteenth century, we’ve got a mixed bag of favourites. Needless to say, it’s been a great year! Have a read and maybe even discover a title to kick of your best year of writing yet.

Harry Bingham

Harry

The book I (re)read & enjoyed most this year was Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of a Floating World. That’s a story about a Japanese artist who becomes complicit in the darker side of the Japanese WWII war effort, but it’s also an absolute masterclass in layer by layer story revelation. If you want to know how to uncloak mystery over the course of a novel, then it doesn’t get better than this. For not-guilty pleasures, I also re-read the entire Sherlock Holmes short story canon. Yum!

Sarah J

Funnily enough, my favourite books of 2018 have included a lot of proof editions of 2019 debuts. Highlights include Katya Balen’s beautiful ‘The Space We’re In’ – a middle grade debut that made me ugly-cry. I’m also so excited for everyone to read Yasmin Rahman’s YA debut ‘All the Things we Never Said’, which is the best example of multiple POV voice writing that I’ve ever read.

For 2018 books, I really enjoyed Juno Dawson’s ‘Clean’, about a teenager in rehab. I also fell in love with both the book and the film for ‘Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ (or, Love Simon). I even added an adult book to my top shelf books at the beginning of the year (which hardly ever happens). ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ certainly lived up to the hype for me!

Sarah Juckes
Annie Rose

Annie

This year was an exciting year of reading for me, I joined a book club and got to expand my reading tastes, reading everything from Sci-Fi to Erotica. Some books that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up myself but nonetheless, really enjoyed. My favourites from this year’s selection, I would say, were: ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides (a book I would be unlikely to pick up by myself) and ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman (smash of the year).

In my own time, I’ve really enjoyed reading ‘Behind Her Eyes’ by one of my favourite authors and our Festival of Writing keynote speaker for 2018, Sarah Pinborough. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a page-turning thriller with a bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure. I have also read a fair bit of YA this year, ‘Faceless’ by Alyssa Sheinmel, ‘Clean’ by Juno Dawson and of course ‘Outside’ by our own Sarah Ann Juckes being standouts. Don’t forget to get your copy of Outside when it’s published in January.

Stephanie

This year I’ve absolutely loved The Grapes Of Wrath. It’s about a family migrating across America on their home-made truck in search for a place to live. I wish it was published today: it would be just as fresh and urgent as it was in the 1930’s. It’s both mainstream and experimental. It’s heart-breakingly humane, and at the same time shocking and political. Steinbeck’s characters are also the most real and beautiful ones I’ve met this year. And to think he wrote it in just a hundred days and hardly edited it before publication!

Stephanie Vendryes

Rachael

I’ve spent the past year being engulfed by eighteenth-century novels, such as Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, and Sarah Fielding’s The History of Ophelia. I’ve also read some pretty famous critiques of eighteenth-century society like Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Mary Robinson’s essay Letter to the Women of England. My favourite read this year though, has to be Frances Burney’s Evelina; or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World. Even though I’ve read and written on Evelina multiple times, each time I read it I discover something new. Fun fact: Burney’s use of ‘shopping’ in the first volume was the very first time an English novel referred to shopping as an activity!

I also spent a large chunk of my year eagerly awaiting the release of two nonfiction books: Keith Thomas’ In Pursuit of Civility: Manners and Civilisation in Early Modern England and Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.

Sarah D

This year I’ve really enjoyed reading memoirs. I loved Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I Know About Love’. It was such a witty and eloquent account of those years of the teens and twenties that I really related to. Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’ was also really eye opening and gave me a renewed appreciation for those working tirelessly in the NHS.

I used to get the bus in to Jericho each day which I can’t say was the most enjoyable commute in the winter months but when I began ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman I honestly could not wait to get on to the bus and read it! It is such a captivating narrative and is heartbreakingly funny.

Sarah Derrick

Finally, it may sound a bit bias as I work with but I can honestly say that I adored Sarah Juckes’ ‘Outside’ which left me spinning for days after. I’m so excited for it to be released in January and for everyone to love it as much as I did.

What have you all loved reading this year? Let us know in the Townhouse or on Twitter.

2018 has been a huge year for Jericho Writers and we owe a great deal of that to all of our writers so a massive thank you to all of you! Bring on 2019 and your best year of writing yet!

Happy writing,

The Jericho Team

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